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Ron DeSantis. Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Florida Monday became the first state in the U.S. to broadly regulate social media platforms' moderation of user speech online.

Driving the news: Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law fining social media services that permanently ban candidates running for office in Florida.

  • The law also prevents platforms from removing content from news outlets above a certain size.
  • It allows people to sue platforms if they think social media companies are inconsistently applying their content rules.

Yes, but: Legal experts expect the law to face constitutional challenges.

  • Corbin Barthold, internet policy counsel at tech policy think tank TechFreedom, called it a "First Amendment train wreck."

Of note: Companies are exempt from the law if they own a theme park or another type of entertainment venue bigger than 25 acres.

  • That gives Florida-based Disney and Universal Studios a pass on the new online rules.

What they're saying: "If Big Tech censors enforce rules consistently to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable," DeSantis said, describing the bill as a recourse for Florida residents who think they've been unfairly treated by tech companies.

  • On a call with reporters, officials from DeSantis' office said they were confident the law would stand up to legal scrutiny.

What to watch: Other states have considered similar bills, but this is the first to make it to a governor's desk.

  • Republican ire with tech companies and content moderation policies has risen steadily, especially after former President Donald Trump lost his Twitter and Facebook accounts following the January 6 Capitol riot.

Go deeper

Florida withholds funds from 2 school districts over mask mandates

Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida's Department of Education announced Monday it has withheld funds from two districts that defied Gov. Ron DeSantis' order banning mask mandates in schools.

Driving the news: Amid a surge of COVID-19 cases largely driven by the Delta variant, several Florida school districts have implemented mask mandates, despite threats from the Republican governor and state officials to withhold funds for doing so.

Florida school districts face mask free-for-all after judge strikes down DeSantis' ban

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

School boards across Florida are reconsidering mandatory mask policies since a judge struck down Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order barring local classroom mandates.

Driving the news: The ruling paved the way for boards in Brevard, Charlotte, Lee, Lake, Volusia, and Osceola Counties to call meetings to talk about mask policies. At least two of them — Brevard and Lee — instituted mask mandates Monday.

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.